Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable: #23 Victorinox Cadet

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In June, we took a survey to learn which pocket knives our readers believe should never be discontinued. Respondents were asked to name as many or as few pocket knife models as they wanted, and no brands or blades were off-limits. 404 respondents named a total of 268 models and the average respondent named 4.1 pocket knives. 18 out of 404 respondents said the Victorinox Cadet should never be discontinued.

Victorinox is the world’s largest seller of pocket knives and offers well over 50 models in North America. The Victorinox Cadet is among the most popular.

Victorinox began as a one man show in 1884. Company founder Karl Elsener was a passionate cutler and grew his business for ten years before his big break in 1890, when he landed a contract with the Swiss army to produce pocket knives. With a main blade, can opener, and an awl, it was the very first Swiss Army knife – some call it the ‘iPhone of its day’. In the 1920s Elsener renamed his company ‘Victorinox,’ a combination of his mother’s first name and ‘Inox,’ from the French word for stainless steel.

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Few knives have the universal appeal of the Victorinox Cadet. Users like to carry it as a diminutive backup knife that won’t startle non-knife people. It also appeals to minimalists and outdoorsmen, who like the blade length-to-weight ratio and the nearly indestructible build. The sleek, handsome look makes it a great gent’s folder as well.

Most knives on this top 25 list specialize in a particular use, but the Cadet is a true all-arounder, and something that almost anyone could benefit from. Part of the Cadet’s appeal is that it is an 84mm, two-layer tool: this keeps it thin and pocketable, but still gives you the additional functionality SAKs are known for.

Some SAKs are packed full of extraneous, corner-case tools (parcel hook, anyone?). In contrast, each tool in the Cadet is tried and true: you get a bottle opener, a can opener, a nail file, a sizable blade, and integrated drivers on both openers and the nail file.

The original Victorinox Cadet model featured a secondary pen blade which has since been replaced with a file/screwdriver tool. The Cadet model as we know it today is available in red, silver, or black finishes. SAK collectors always keep their eyes open for limited edition runs in more exotic colors which Victorinox periodically issues.

Visit KnifeNews tomorrow to find out which model is #22 on our list of the Top 25 Pocket Knives that are Indispensable.

Knife featured in image: Victorinox Silver Alox Cadet

#25 Microtech Ultratech 14/404
#24 Emerson CQC-7 15/404
#23 Victorinox Cadet 18/404
#22 Benchmade Adamas 20/404
#21 Zero Tolerance 0562 21/404
#20 Cold Steel Ti-Lite 24/404
#19 Opinel No. 8 25/404 
#18 Zero Tolerance 0350 28/404
#17 Cold Steel Voyager 30/404
#16 Case Trapper 41/404
#15 Ontario RAT Model 1 43/404
#14 Benchmade Mini Griptilian 53/404
#13 Spyderco Manix 2 54/404
#12 CRKT M16 57/404
#11 Kershaw Skyline 58/404
#10 Kershaw Blur 62/404
#09 Cold Steel Recon 1 63/404
#08 Spyderco Endura 4 70/404
#07 Chris Reeve Knives Large Sebenza 21 75/404
#06 Kershaw Leek 76/404
#05 Benchmade 940 78/404
#04 Spyderco Delica 4 79/404
#03 Benchmade Griptilian 81/404
#02 Buck 110 Folding Hunter 90/404
#01 Spyderco Paramilitary 2 94/404